Revisit Ratanakiri and beyond

As mentioned in my PS of a previous post, February would be our active month for Let’s Document Cambodia, conducting Docu-FilmCamp Ratanakiri. While you can browse some of our activity snapshots here, let us rather explore other parts of this Northeastern province.

  • Lumkot Lake

Of course, the most important site and lake in Banlung is Yeak Loam. Yet, very few people have gone the extra miles and gotten to Lumkot lake. On our camp’s eve, our trainers and I headed there for our curiosity. This pool comes in a relatively bigger size than Yeak Loam. Yet, it looks more pristine. However, bear with 45 minutes of commuting from town. After reaching that site, our border with Vietnam is 60 kilometers away!

Half-View of Lumkot Lake
  • Svay Hill

Late last year, I’d pass by the bus terminal in Banlung a couple of times. Then, I’d spot a colossal Buddha on top of a nearby hill. Little did I know I could ever get up there and enjoy the town overview. What great moments to enjoy both sunset and sunrise over that sacred hill! For the last several years, that unveiling spot has attracted more locals for their evening outing. (Oh yeah, no sign of food and beverage stores as yet!)

Sunset over Svay Hill
Sunrise over Banlung
  • Restaurants of Choice

Although trivial it may sound, I bet you can get stuck with it comes to places to eat in Banlung. So I’d recommend to you these restaurants for your basic and affordable appetite. We’d enjoy our breakfast at Tanam’s, right in the town hub. Chakriya’s is chosen for our regular lunch, due to its proximity to our training venue. Every evening, we would opt for either Chantrea or Chey Chumneah. The former feels, though, mainstream for both local and international tourists.

Collective Dinner at Chey Chumneah
  • Cafe for a Cause: RNN

If there is a place in Ratanakiri I could call “home”, that would be “RNN“. From the onset, I thought that our local ally, Pisey “privately” owned that cafe. Of course, he works at Save Vulnerable Cambodia after settling down in Banlung for a dozen of years. Only during our camp did I realize the cafe has been financed by Ratanakiri NGOs Network (RNN). This social enterprise also serves as a co-working space for those NGO members and other “social” workers! For ten days in a row, we were blessed to make the most use of that instrumental space 🙂

Outdoor space as RNN Cafe
Inner Room as RNN’s Co-Working Space and Event Venue

Hey, are you expecting more from Ratanakiri? So I am. Then, schedule another visit and, I suggest, roam around this province as close to Nature as its neighbors: Mondulkiri, Stung Treng, Kratie. And my next destination up there is Virak Chey National Park. So stay tuned until that next long-anticipated voyage!

PS: As usual, here’s my bonus clip from my last “camp” to Banlung!